Xitang and Boazi

28 Oct

We were supposed to have had a serious storm last night, but it largely skirted around the south of us and, apart from some surface water, we escaped mostly undamaged. Having eaten large numbers of steamed buns (baozi) during the holiday I decided to try to make my own yesterday evening. They tasted OK, but I won’t post up any photos of my own efforts until I can make them look a bit better. My crimping leaves a lot to be desired. Anyhow, here is a link to the recipe I used. I didn’t have any sesame oil or oyster sauce or dried shitake mushrooms to hand, but I do have alternatives, and the method is more important than the exact matches for the filling. The dough needs to be made as described. Like cakes it works by a mixture of chemistry and physics, and the proportions and ingredients need to be followed.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7994/baozi-steamed-buns

I don’t think we ate Boazi in the first place we visited after getting to Beijing, Xitang. We went on the Bullet train to Jianshan South railway station, some six hours on the train. From there we took an unofficial minibus / taxi to Xitang, with the five of us and luggage. Far too much to fit in a normal taxi. Xitang is an historical water town you have to pay to enter. The entire waterfront area is a living museum. If you are not too proud to admit it, you will have seen the place as a location at the end of Mission Impossible 3. Now, that is not the kind of film I watch too often, but I bought a copy for a couple of quid, and will watch that bit soon. We stayed in a guest house / hotel right on the waterfront, near to one of the most picturesque bridges. The views more than made up for the failings of the room and the bed which had a solid board under the sheet. More on Chinese beds later.

Xitang is impossibly cute and infinitely photographable. Groups of wannabe artists were lined up drawing some of the views. There are tours of the waterways on boats propelled by a single long rear oar used in a figure of eight motion. Women wash clothes in the river water, and there are boats used to fish rubbish and leaves and water weed from the rivers. There are about a dozen little museums to visit, including a button museum. But enough of the travelogue, here are a few photos of the place.

This was also taken in Xitang. A very strange name to put on a moped!

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